Globetrotting | New Orleans

by Mark Chesnut
City Park in New Orleans

The Big Easy is welcoming visitors back with an array of new reasons to plan a vacation, including new hotels and attractions, a spacious new airport terminal, and a vibrant nightlife scene.

Mark Chesnut

Even bigger news is coming from Harrah’s New Orleans (228 Poydras St. Tel. 800-427-7247., which will receive a $325 million infusion from parent company Caesars Entertainment to be reborn as the Caesars New Orleans in 2024. The investment includes the construction of a brand-new, 340-room hotel tower.

As a creative hub, New Orleans has long attracted artists from around the country and around the world, and that’s apparent in the many art galleries and shops around the city that stock original artwork and unique décor and gift items.

One11 Pool in New Orleans

One11 Pool
Photo: One11 Hotel

Indeed, there’s no excuse for leaving New Orleans with boring, run-of- the-mill souvenirs. Better to stop at stores like Zele ((2841 Magazine St. Tel. 504-450-0789., which is a great place for diverse and unique New Orleans souvenirs. Or consider the interesting offerings at Queork (3005 Magazine St. Tel. 504-388-6803., which stocks accessories, jewelry, and other items creatively made from cork.

In the French quarter, the galleries along Royal Street are especially rewarding places to find memorable artwork. Several galleries are focused on the work of just one artist. The Antieau Gallery (927 Royal St. Tel. 504-304-0849., for example, features the creations of American fiber artist Chris Roberts-Antieau, while McPherson (1029 Royal St. Tel. 504-264-3544. www.davidmcp. com), exhibits the Louisiana-infused work of painter, sculptor, and photographer David McPherson. Tanner Gallery & Studio (830 Royal St. Tel. 504-524-8266. features the haunting paintings of Alabama-born artist Tanner.

Also worth a visit is Myth Gallery (831 Royal St. Tel. 504-513- 8312., which is owned by artists Betsy Youngquist and R. Scott Long, both of whom have a unique, surreal interpretation of myths and folklore that’s evident in their fantastical works. A relatively new gallery on Decatur Street called French Quarter Art Gallery (1129 Decatur St. Tel. 804-314-7096. exhibits contemporary artwork and even hosts a pop-up taco shop called Taco Ninja from Thursday through Sunday every week.

In the Warehouse Arts District, noteworthy galleries include Estella (440 Julia St. Tel. 504-547-5931., which showcases the work of international contemporary artists, and Gallery 600 Julia (600 Julia St. Tel. 504-895-7375, which hosts rotating exhibits of Louisiana artists.

For a colorful and vibrant take on the New Orleans art scene, stop at the Terrance Osborne Gallery (3029 Magazine St. Tel. 504- 232-7530., a Garden District venue that features large-scale paintings by Terrance Osborne, a native who celebrates New Orleans culture, architecture, and traditions.

Bread Pudding at Gris Gris in New Orleans

Bread Pudding at Gris Gris
Photo: Mark Chesnut

There’s so much to see and do in New Orleans that many people spend their entire vacation in the city, but those who venture outside will find rewarding experiences, as well. Among the newest tourism initiatives in the region is the 1811 Slave Revolt Trail, which documents a massive rebellion against plantation owners along the Mississippi River. Visitors can now follow in the footsteps of the hundreds of enslaved people who participated by using a mobile “passport” that downloads on any smartphone, complete with listings of attractions, retailers, and restaurants. The new, self-guided itinerary is available from the River Parishes Tourist Commission (671 Belle Terre Blvd., LaPlace, LA. Tel. 866-204-7782., which was formerly known as the New Orleans Plantation Company.

A trip along the 1811 Slave Trail includes stops at some of the area’s most fascinating sites, including the Destrehan Plantation (13034 River Rd., Destrehan, LA. Tel. 985-764-9315., which features a typical cabin once inhabited by enslaved people, as well as an extensive exhibit about the revolt and massive plantation home. (The plantation was also a setting in a variety of movies and TV shows, including Interview with the Vampire, 12 Years a Slave, and NCIS – New Orleans). In addition to standard plantation tours, the property also offers an “Unheard Voices of the German Coast” tour that focuses on marginalized people, including enslaved Africans and Native Americans as well as German farmers and Acadians.

The trail also includes a stop at the Whitney Plantation (5099 Highway 18, Wallace, LA. Tel. 225-265-3300., which is billed as the only plantation that focuses exclusively on the lives of the enslaved people of the region. As of press time the facility was only offering audio tours, but regardless of the tour type, the Whitney is a must-see for anyone who wants to better understand the lives of enslaved people and the society that denied them their rights.

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